Jenson Button won an action-packed Hungarian GP to celebrate his 200th grand prix in style.
In a race of shifting fortunes that saw Vettel, Massa, Hamilton and Alonso spin or have off-track excursions, Button kept his car on the island. It also helped that he ignored a team call to come in for Intermediate tyres!
Hamilton led for most laps in a race that had three leaders, but his spin put paid to his hopes, as did a stop for Intermediate tyres when the rain suddenly stopped falling. He came home in fourth behind Alonso in third and Vettel in a handy second place.
It was a wet Hungaroring, with drizzly rain falling on the grid and an ambient temperature of 17C with the track at 18C. It was unquestionably a case of starting on the Intermediate tyre in these conditions.
Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Alonso, 6.Webber, 7.Rosberg, 8.Sutil, 9.Schumacher, 10.Perez, 11.DiResta, 12.Petrov
Start: Polesitter Sebastian Vettel got his car away from P1 with no problems and was followed tentatively into Turn 1 by the two McLarens in grid order. However Jenson Button was able to get good drive round the outside of Turn 1 and pulled alongside Lewis Hamilton into Turn 2.
Vettel took the outside line around Turn 2 and Lewis followed him round while Jenson dived inside. Lewis made the exit of the turn first and held onto P2 with Jenson dropping in behind.
Further back Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made storming starts from P7 and P9 going past the Ferraris into Turn 1 while Massa and Alonso lost traction. For a change, Fernando Alonso had made the better start than Massa and was past him into Turn 1, but both slipped behind the Mercedes.
Mark Webber had another dreadful start slipping behind them all but recovering a place from a Force India.
In fact so good was Michael Schumacher's start that he tried to challenge Nico Rosberg for P4 in the run down to Turn 4, but Rosberg held on to the place. Schumacher slipped back during the opening lap and Alonso challenged the slithering and sliding Mercedes through the final turn of the lap, where Schumi ran wide. Alonso was back to P5.
Positions after Lap 1
1.Vettel 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Rosberg, 5.Alonso, 6.Schumacher, 7.Massa, 8.Webber, 9.DiResta, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Barrichello, 12.Petrov
Adrian Sutil had a nightmare opening lap dropping from 8th on the grid to 20th after losing control of his Force India.
As early as Lap 2 Sebastian Vettel was coming under pressure from Hamilton especially into the slippery Turn 2. Alonso ran wide there on Lap 4 and lost the place he'd gained on Michael Schumacher and would have to repass him
A lap later and Hamilton pressured Vettel into a mistake at Turn 2, the Red Bull ran wide and Lewis cruised past. Jenson Button was right onto Vettel's gearbox and was told he could use "the yellow button" to overtake if he wanted.
Both Ferraris were struggling to get heat into their tyres - Fernando Alonso ran wide in Turn 12 and lost more time and had to repass his team-mate, then Felipe Massa went off the circuit at Turn 2 spinning his car gently into the barriers and losing a chunk off his rear wing.
By Lap 8, though, the Ferrari looked menacingly quick and Alonso was right onto the gearbox of Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes cars had started quickly but their rear tyres were going off quickly. On Lap 9 Alonso was able to pass Rosberg using the DRS zone.
Webber and Massa were in for tyres at the end of Lap 10, swapping Inters for super-softs; Button on Lap 11, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg and Alonso on Lap 12. All going onto the red-walled super-soft Option tyre.
The advantage of stopping earlier than Vettel was soon apparent as Jenson Button - on warmer tyres - was able to dive up the inside of the Red Bull driver into Turn 2 to take P2, and Mark Webber did the same on Alonso to take P4.
So the positions on Lap 14 were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Vettel, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Rosberg, 7.DiResta, 8.Schumacher, 9.Massa, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Barrichello, 12.Petrov
Lewis set about posting a series of fastest laps as the track dried out, setting a new benchmark on Laps 15,16, 17 and 18. Team-mate Jenson Button took less life out of his tyres early in the stint but reset the Fastest Lap on Laps 19 and 20. Mark Webber took it on lap 21 with a 1:27.413 but he was under great pressure from Alonso who was just 1.1 seconds behind.Lewis's lead over Button had gone out to 9.1 seconds at one stage (Lap 20), but Button began to peg him back and by Lap 25 it was just 4.3 seconds. However at this stage of the proceedings all eyes were fixed on the fiery Renault of Nick Heidfeld, which was on fire even as it left the pits. The Renault car had been stationary too long in its pitbox and overheated.
Heidfeld managed to escape the flaming chassis quickly as he parked it on the grass on the inside of the run down to Turn 1, by the pitlane exit. Marshals raced to extinguish the flames but as they were putting it out, there was a small explosion at the side of the car which detonated carbon fibre to a height of about a metre off the ground which caught a marshal rushing past.
For a few seconds it looked like Race Control might bring out the Safety Car but ultimately it was dealt with under waved yellows. It made getting out of pitlane quite awkward, though. Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso both pitted again on Lap 25, Lewis Hamilton on Lap 26, Jenson Button on Lap 27 and Vettel on Lap 28. At the same time Michael Schumacher parked his Mercedes with a failed gearbox.
On Lap 29 the positions were: 1.Hamilton, 7.3 ahead of... 2.Button, 6.6 ahead of... 3.Vettel, 2.8 ahead of 4.Mark Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Kobayashi (one stop), 7.Massa, 8.Rosberg, 9.DiResta, 10.Barrichello, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Petrov
Fernando Alonso was right onto the gearbox of Mark Webber on Lap 32 and tried to overtake him using the grip on the outside of Turn 1, it didn't come off. Rather than waste time behind the Red Bull, Alonso pitted for the third time on Lap 37 and took on another set of super-soft tyres, looking for the undercut. He immediately set the Fastest Lap on Lap 38, a 1:24.718.
Just as Vettel was radioing back that his rear tyres were gone, Mark Webber came in and the Red Bull team sent him out on the yellow-walled soft tyres. Lewis came in on Lap 40 for a set of super-softs, Vettel pitted on Lap 41 for softs and Jenson Button pitted on Lap42, also for softs.
Button and the two Red Bulls were intending to make their Prime soft tyres last till the end of the race, but Alonso and Hamilton would have to make up time to pit again.
On Lap 43 the positions were: 1.Hamilton (7.6 seconds clear) 2.Button (1.8 seconds), 3.Alonso (2.2 seconds), 4.Vettel, 5.Webber, 6.Rosberg, 7.Massa, 8.Alguersuari, 9.Petrov, 10.Buemi.
Alonso looked to have used up the life of his tyres very quickly as by Lap 45 Vettel was straight past him with a DRS pass into Turn 1. It was also bad news for the other super-soft runner Lewis Hamilton, as Jenson Button was lapping faster than him on the harder wearing Option tyre. Vettel was catching them both.
On Lap 47 rain began to fall again and the race took another twist. Lewis Hamilton lost control in the Turn 6/7 chicane and spun his car on track to point it in the right direction. In doing so he forced Paul Di Resta wide and off the track to take avoiding action.
Button was past, but the two McLarens were soon running very close at the front. Button led the race from Hamilton through Laps 48 to 50 but on Lap 51 Jenson ran wide into Turn 2 and Hamilton took the lead again. On Lap 52 Button was back past Hamilton using the DRS into Turn 1 and then spoiled it all by running wide into Turn 2 again. Hamilton back in the lead. Mark Webber dived into the pitlane for Intermediate tyres in response to the slowing track.
As the rain continued to fall and the two McLarens slid around at the front, Lewis Hamilton came in for Inters at the end of Lap 52. Button was called in too, to stack behind Lewis, but chose to stay out for another lap. In that gap the rain stopped falling and it became apparent that Inters weren't needed.
Webber immediately came back in to get rid of his Inters and when Fernando Alonso breezed past Hamilton, he was straight in to replace his disastrous tyre choice. Alonso himself had come in for a new set of Prime tyres on Lap 47. Hamilton had been given a questionable drive-through penalty from inconsistent stewards for his spin in front of a lapped car (DiResta).
The same stewards apparently failed to see the Renault team's release of a burning car as unsafe! (During the race at least).
Lewis had dropped to fourth place after the Inters mistake, but the drive-through penalty put him down to 6th place on Lap 57 out of 70. He rejoined behind a 4th place battle between Felipe Massa and Mark Webber.
While that was all happening, Jenson Button put in the Fastest Lap on Lap 58, a 1:23.937 which opened up the gap to Vettel to 6.4 seconds. Mark Webber passed Massa who was struggling with his tyres and Hamilton was able to get past him into Turn 6. On Lap 59 Hamilton reset Fastest Lap in his pursuit of Mark Webber and his fourth place. The two of them came up against a train of cars led by Kamui Kobayashi who had run out of grip on tyres he was trying to last till the end of the race. The train included two Toro Rosso's a Force India and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.
Kobayashi eventually lost places to them all (clipping Alguersuari in the process) and managed to get in front of Mark Webber before Turn 12. Lewis Hamilton took advantage and nipped up the inside of Webber to take P4 in a brilliant piece of opportunism. Webber pursued Hamilton to the line but even with the advantage of the DRS couldn't make the pass before the end of the race.
Vettel didn't challenge Button in the closing stages and came home in P2 behind a jubilant Jenson Button, taking his second race win of the season at his 200th GP. A distant Alonso came home third, probably quite surprised at being on the podium when fifth place looked the most likely result. Hamilton took 4th, Webber 5th, Felipe Massa an eventful 6th and Paul DiResta a best ever 7th, holding off Buemi and Rosberg to the line.
It had been a drama-filled race with spins or off-track excursions from Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Massa. Button kept his car on the island and won another memorable grand prix. From a Red Bull perspective, it was exactly the right Mclaren driver to win.
01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h43:42.337
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 3.588
03. Alonso Ferrari + 19.819
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 48.338
05. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 49.742
06. Massa Ferrari + 1:17.176
07. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
09. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps
15. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps
16. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 4 laps
18. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps
19. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 5 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 5 laps
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 56
Schumacher Mercedes 27
Heidfeld Renault 24
Trulli Lotus-Renault 18